WASHINGTON (The Hill) — Former Attorney General William Barr on Monday called for a new leader of the Republican Party, warning in a blistering rebuke that former President Donald Trump “will burn the whole house down.” His comments follow the 2022 midterm elections, where Republicans’ projected “red wave” failed to take control of Congress.
“Unless the rest of the party goes along with him, he will burn the whole house down by leading ‘his people’ out of the GOP,” Barr said in a scathing op-ed published in the New York Post on Monday. “Trump’s willingness to destroy the party if he does not get his way is not based on principle, but on his own supreme narcissism,” he added. “His egoism makes him unable to think of a political party as anything but an extension of himself—a cult of personality.”
Some polls before the midterms also showed that Republicans had a good chance of capturing the Senate. However, Democrats kept control of the Senate, and while the GOP did gain control of the House, the final margin was significantly smaller than anticipated. Several high-profile candidates who were endorsed by Trump, including Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters (R) and Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz (R), lost to their Democratic opponents.
Barr has become a frequent critic of his former boss since leaving Trump’s administration in December 2020. He resigned as attorney general after contradicting Trump’s unsupported claims of widespread election fraud in the 2020 election.
Barr has also separated himself from Trump and the rest of the GOP on the subject of the Mar-a-Lago documents case. He has consistently rejected Trump’s claims about classified and sensitive documents recovered after the FBI executed a search warrant of the Palm Beach, Fla., residence.
The former attorney general has said he is “skeptical” of Trump’s claims that he declassified the documents. Barr said that there was “no justification” for taking the documents from the White House and criticized a court’s decision to appoint a special master in the case. In an interview last week, he added that the Justice Department likely has a “basis for legitimately indicting” Trump over his handling of the sensitive documents.
In his op-ed published Monday, Barr acknowledged the Trump administration’s “substantive achievements,” but said he believes that it’s “time for new leadership.”
“It is painfully clear from his track record in both the 2020 election and the 2022 midterms that Donald Trump is neither capable of forging this winning coalition nor delivering the decisive and durable victory required,” Barr said. “Among the current crop of potential nominees, Trump is the person least able to unite the party and the one most likely to lose the general election.”